Fire Record of Charleston.
The annual report to the Board of Fire Masters, of the city of Charleston, S. C., of Chief Louis Behrens, for the year ending December 31, 1909, the fourth he has made as chief and the twenty-eighth since the department was placed on a paid basis, makes an excellent showing as to efficiency and—except in has a Game well system to which the chief calls attention—as to the condition of the apparatus. The fire force comprises lot) officers and men, It steamers, including 2 second-size and 1 third-size Silsby, one second, one third and one fourth size Amoskeag ; two second and one fourth-size Clapp & Jones, and two second-size Metropolitan engines; 7 hose wagons and 4 hose carriages, 1 double 80-gallon chemical engine, 1 combination hose wagon, 1 aerial truck and equipment, 1 service truck and equipment, chief’s automobile, buggy, fuel and supply wagons and carts, and 30 head of horses. There is also an aerial truck and equipment, a service truck and equipment. The department has in use 12.450 feet of serviceable 2 1/2-inch, 60 feet serviceable 1 1/2-inch and 800 feet of chemical hose.
During the year the department responded to 233 alarms, exceeding in number by 29 the alarms answered in any previous year. Deducting 12 false alarms, this meant 221 fires, at which property to the value of $1,555,788 was at risk; the total loss was $49,243, of which three fires, in expensive risks, aggregated $35,592.29, so that the remaining 218 fires were handled at a loss of only $13,651.67, a record of which Chief Behrens may justly feel proud. The system of regularly testing hose the department employs, by eliminating the bursting of hose at critical times, and the care with which the aparatus has been kept in efficient condition, are factors to which, in connection with the systematic drilling of the force; at training school, the chief attributes the low fire loss
The department maintained the usual service at places of amusement, inspected buildings, chimneys, hearths, etc., during the year, as well as exercising supervision over the building permits applied for. Chief Behrens .recommends the purchase for installation at the central station of a first-size motor fire engine, the transfer of the steam engine at present there to engine company No. 8 and the increase of the permanent force by the addition to each engine and truck company, of two more full paid men, in order to insure a good working force in the early stages of a fire, an increase in the number of hydrants on certain streets and in the size of mains on others.
The appended report of Acting Superintendent of Fire Alarm Telegraphs B. E. Bicaise, shows that during the year six miles of wire was renewed and six new boxes added, making 117 in circuit, a complete set of new batteries, and a new eight-circuit repeater installed, with other apparatus, the superintendent being excusably proud of the fact that during his nineteen years’ management of the city’s fire alarm service, he has had no failure of an alarm for fire to report. The total expense of the department during the year, including a new engine-house that cost $9,575, was $70,075.